J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore Gets an Overhaul, I Mourn My Lost Galleons & Lacewing Flies

Yes, it’s true. J.K. Rowling’s official Harry Potter website Pottermore has undergone a huge overhaul moving from interactive fan site to a simple blog. For the love of god, why?

A moment of silence please, as we reflect on what Pottermore once was.

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That’s my wand.

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Or at least, it was my wand before some nasty Deatheaters came along and took it away.

Ok, I’m being melodramatic but over the last few weeks I’d immersed myself in Pottermore, the amazingly produced fan site which I had signed up for when it was open to the public back in 2012 but never managed to look into. Why? Pottermore was chockfull of content (Including brand new writing from Rowling!) and it seemed daunting at the time to jump into.

The site, in it’s previous state, allowed you to be sorted into one of the four Hogwarts houses, just like any first year student. I wound up in Ravenclaw which shocked me a bit as I always gravitated toward Gryffindor, but was happy with nonetheless. You could then explore all seven books through chapters represented by new illustrations (from U.K. art studio, Atomhawk Design) you could also interact with. Sometimes there’d be wonderful Jim Dale audio commentary to go along with it but either way you could unlock new information about the Harry Potter universe while collecting items you discovered on each page. That could be Wizard currency like galleons, books, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, and even potion ingredients like Dried Billywig Stings or leeches!

And then yes, you could brew your own potions! You could also duel with other users, something I never found the time to try out. I spent hours and then days going through the story and making sure I collected every item and went through all the motions to complete each one. And I’m so glad I did it when I did because just a few days into my adventure I learned Rowling was planning on changing the site.  They did, however, allow users to print up this lovely certificate to remember our participation.

See, Pottermore was initially developed with help from Sony and set up to sell Harry Potter eBooks (for the first time) and digital audio books, among other merchandise. But Rowling’s partnership with Sony ended in 2014 and her team started work on the next phase. Many fans, myself included, were concerned about losing what we had and curious as to what could possibly be next. A Patronus test had been teased for a while but I couldn’t help but think what wonders the new site might include. And then it launched.

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*insert sad trombone noise*

Disappointed doesn’t even begin to cover it. Fans worst fears came true as the previous site no longer exists to view as it was (if you’re curious I suggest checking out the Pottermore Wiki) and was replace by none other than a blog. Yeah, pretty much your run of the mill blog. I was heartbroken.

You’ll still find some of that amazing artwork peppered through the site, and new writing from Rowling, but all of the… dare I say it… magic is gone. It’s no longer special, it’s ordinary, and Harry Potter is anything but ordinary.

This isn’t to say the content being published now isn’t entertaining. There’s infographics, features, and news, particularly more film-based items as well (they promise info on the new film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and the stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child). But something else irks me about the transformation and it’s certainly biased by my field of work.

While the “About Us” page lists several names of higher-ups, there aren’t any writers names given. Articles are bylined with things like “Pottermore staff writer” or “The Pottermore Correspondent,” someone their FAQ page says is a “a professional journalist hired by Pottermore especially for this role.”

That really sucks. The Pottermore Correspondent wrote on the welcome article:

As for me? I’m a HUGE Harry Potter fan (in the sense that I love it very much; not that I’m unusually large in stature) and I’m a journalist. I’m here to bring you news, interviews and behind-the-scenes secrets. It is a wonderful honour to be your Pottermore Correspondent. Let’s have a little fun with it together, shall we?

Being an entertainment journalist, getting a job writing about Harry Potter every day would be a dream come true! But not being able to put my name on it and shout about it as loud as Mrs. Weasley’s howler in Chamber of Secrets would really dissuade me from the job. It’s not unheard of, lots of brands don’t like to have specific names attached to their content, but still, as a writer myself it would be nice to see them getting credit.

The FAQ also notes some of the “magic” (like Sorting Ceremony and wand choosing) may return, but “in a different way.” I’m looking forward to what’s to come but not in the OH MY GOD I NEED TO VISIT EVERY DAY kind of way and passionate Harry Potter fans want that kind of feeling.

Were you a part of the previous version of Pottermore? What do you think about the new site?

 

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  • Cameron Stewart

    I had been on that every day trying to earn points proudly for my house, Slytherin. I earned at least 1,000 house points and brewed countless potions, only to find out that all of that would be taken away from me. This marvelous site was going to be turned into some regular fan page. And in most aspects not even a very good one at that. I am 14 and i felt like crying for days when the site transformed. My account lost, my points gone, my potions evaporated into nothing. It has been months since the change and they haven’t made much of an effort to bring back the old magic of the site. I miss visiting Diagon Alley, reading the Daily Prophet to see what Ginny Weasley had wrote that day, and walking into shops to check out what they were selling that day. I have almost abandoned the site completely, checking back every month or so to see if they had repared it. No such luck.

  • SparksMagic2026

    it is a year later and the new Pottermore still stinks. I felt like i lost a friend when the original went away.

  • Rue Rowle

    WHAT HAPPENED?? It used to be this fun site that lets you interact with other potterheads in the comment section. And what happened to all the fun? The potion brewing, duels, exploring on the chapters, collecting Bertie Botts! (the best part), all GONE. I had great friends and a family for merlin’s sake. Please J.K Rowling, change it back. This is all maddd.

  • Gerry

    The new Pottermore sucks. It’s boring. It’s dull. I check it every 5 weeks or so to see if they have come to their sense but alas, so far I remain disappointed.

  • WheelchairNinja

    So basically it went from being incredibly awesome and interactive like the old JKRowling.com to now being a Potter-themed BuzzFeed? “Minor Potter Characters Worth Remembering,” “Eleven Times Snape was the Hardest Teacher to Please,” “How to Deal with Life After You Finish Reading Harry Potter,” seriously? http://31.media.tumblr.com/bac6d055d7056fda4f4c1e374617ee07/tumblr_n0w90uquy51rnqwwao1_500.gif

  • Adam Blackhat

    I…couldn’t get into! I’m sorry! It sounds like it was a load of fun, though. I don’t get why it had to be taken down. Are they going to refresh the content and upload it in a different way?

  • Sherrie Ricketts

    I am very disappointed. I was rereading the books with the special interactive content. It was super fun. Now it’s gone. I don’t understand why they would pull down something so amazing like that. I was looking forward to reading the new editions with it.

    • Yeah really bummed they couldn’t just leave the other stuff up in addition to the new site.

      • Cameron Stewart

        I’m loving that idea :)

  • Kerry

    I didn’t see the notice about Pottermore revision until it was too late, and I had just started to go through the “moments” of the last book (and just added you as a friend, dangit). I don’t care if all the things we collected on the site were virtual…I feel as if someone stole something from me. *Accio tissue box*